The Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012

When things get slow around here — or, to Krista’s ever-lasting dismay, even when they don’t — I tend to pose hypotheticals. Usually to Tim, because he will drop anything he is doing, no matter how important, and try to come up with a legitimate answer. Mike will play along, too, but his answers usually drive me insane. For instance, I asked, if you had to, what is the biggest animal you could kill with your bare hands? Mike said he could take down a giraffe, a choice I still find to be patently ridiculous. Anyway, several weeks ago, I asked Tim the following: What would it take to get you to wear a tuxedo every day for the month of July? He thought about it for maybe 15 seconds and answered, “I would do it in return for a nice tuxedo.” We were getting somewhere.

I am a persistent person. I am also, despite any evidence to the contrary, a very optimistic person, almost to a fault. Actually, completely to a fault. In addition to that, I am irrationally self-confident. So I always think I can get things done, and I generally try to get things done until well past the time it has been proven to me that said thing just will not happen. I say all that so you will understand this: I keep throwing out these hypotheticals in the belief that, one day, I will hit upon the right one, and Tim will agree to actually do one. I’m not talking about the time Laura got a giant barrel of cheese puffs and he put (I think) 15 in his mouth in under 15 seconds. (It might have been 30 seconds; we are currently without a staff secretary, so no record exists.) That was just fun and games. I’m talking about something with real stakes.

So, anyway, the Great Tuxedo Challenge of 2012. I don’t know why Tim picked a nice tuxedo as his reward. I have worn a tuxedo exactly four times in my life, so rentals are obviously just fine. I don’t think Tim is occasioned to wear one much more than I am, but he might have some creepy Eyes Wide Shut scene happening in his private life, so I won’t speculate. Either way, after we thought about it for a few minutes, the tuxedo thing seemed like a pretty good idea. After I realized he was going on vacation for a week in July, it seemed (to me) like a really good idea. Tim stuck deep sea fishing and riding go-karts and whatnot while clad in a tuxedo — I couldn’t have hoped for more.

We repaired to an off-site location and hammered out the basic structure of the deal. Tim would have to don the tux (complete with cummerbund) immediately after waking up and showering, and he would wear it until 9:45 that night, when he could change to footie pajamas or whatever he wears to bed. I gave him a few exceptions: he was allowed to take it off for one hour per day for exercising; he could loosen the tie while cooking; when he left for vacation, he could take off the jacket either on the flight out, or the five-hour drive to his final destination; and I think that was it. Maybe a couple of other small allowances.

What we needed was a sponsor. Obviously, it would make the most sense to get Al’s Formal Wear or some other tux rental joint. We were going to need several tuxedos at minimum. We also figured it would be smart to get a title sponsor for the whole thing. It would be a fair amount of exposure for whomever signed on. Tim would blog about it, there would probably be some video, etc. The company could maybe even earn some money for our foolishness, instead of the alternative, which we were already pretty familiar with. Not a lot. Some.

A day later, we ran into a local representative for a liquor company I won’t mention. We made our pitch. She liked the idea, or said she did. But she couldn’t make the final decision. Ultimately, the company passed, and we wasted too much time with that dead end, so we ran out of time to make it happen for July. We had a magazine to publish, and Krista had made it subtly clear that I was not to distract Tim from the mission of getting that done. Also: IT’S KIND OF A DUMB IDEA. So it didn’t happen.

At this point, I don’t really care about the money. Honestly, I never really did. I only wanted to make Tim sweat through a solid summer month in a tuxedo. August will probably be a scorcher, so it’s still possible. If someone can come up with enough scratch to get him a nice tuxedo as a reward, and fund a few rentals to help him accomplish my ridiculous request, we can all enjoy that together. I mean, I know more than a few of you want Tim to suffer, right? Now is your chance.


  • I told Mike that a single strike from a giraffe’s neck would probably kill him instantly. That’s an absurd choice of animal.

    • @BHargrove: It really is absurd. Maybe not as absurd as, say, a lion, but still pretty dumb. Also, his technique for doing this does not strictly speaking involve only his bare hands, but I couldn’t sway him.

  • Lavin

    I am on it! I will find a sponsor.

  • Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell

    Zac, Zac, Zac. You talking tuxedos, but you should really be thinking “Jumpsuits.”

  • Ket

    Rentals get pretty pricey after the first couple of nights, you may be better off buying three really cheap tuxes and maybe five or six cheap shirts for the month. If you can get the rental company to give you some worn out stock that may work, even better if it had advertising on the back of the coat; NASCAR tux!

    But the prize tux has to be from somewhere nicer. He’s got to get something kinda cool out of this.

    Giraffe necks are clearly more fragile than the rest of the body, but they can kick like a demon and swing that “fragile” neck like a mace. I’d like to hear Michael’s plan. If bare hands included a lasso I might be able to see some options, but just mooney and a giraffe in a pin. I’m betting on the one who has to fend off lions.

    Also, 6th para: “an liquor company”

    • @Ket: Yes, the winning tux would be from somewhere nicer. He stipulated that.

  • Anne

    Tim obviously thinks he’s going to win more awards…thus the need for a tuxedo.

  • Eric Celeste

    Mike’s answer has effectively shut me down for the rest of the day. A 3-second Internet search suggests one kick from an adult giraffe can crush a lion’s skull or snap its spine. I want to yell at him.

    Also, you should know that if you Google “could you kill a giraffe with your bare hands,” your post shows up 3rd, Zac. I share that because I know it will make you absurdly happy.

  • Eric Celeste

    The answer, BTW, is a badger. Have you ever tried to kill an animal larger than a badger? The answer is no, because YOU CAN’T.

  • Amy S

    Badgers are mean. So fierce they could probably take down a giraffe.

    Besides these squiriferous and sevidical conversations, was there a specific limitation on color or fabric of the tuxedo? White is so, so, 2010. Black, boring. I was thinking something in “D” red.

  • Caroline Beyer

    Wait…so, are you hiring a staff secretary?

    • @Caroline Beyer: Perhaps. Also maybe sergeant at arms and treasurer.

  • Daniel

    How nice is nice? Like from Brooks Brothers or one of those open-only-at-hours-when-the-plebes-are-off-sweating-for-their-pay places in Preston Center or on Lovers Lane or whatever? Doesn’t-fit-Marty-Cortland-anymore-but-will-fit-Tim-if-we-take-it-in-at-the-waist nice? Or merely has-never-been-worn-by-a-twelfth-grader-during-a-once-in-a-lifetime-evening-of-premature-emissions-and-vomiting nice?

    Anyway, I’m going to punt and say giant turtle.

    • @Daniel: Nice nice. Like a couple of grand nice.

  • Dear Mr. Daniel:

    All my tuxedos still fit — and always will. Any cast-off garments that I might give to Tim would have to be taken in at the shoulders, not the waist.


  • Daniel

    All your tuxedos? Like, you have more than one? One for white tie occasions, one for black, and one, I’m forced to conclude, “just for fun”? Maybe on the day your retinue is allowed to recuperate at their own sadly humble abodes from six days’ toil in an arrythmic, bibulous, torpid slumber, you pretend to be the butler and your wife dresses up like Marisol the housekeeper? For the love of God, man, spare us the details. Know that the day you leave this world, you’ll be forced to service F. Scott Fitzgerald in purgatory before you’re allowed through the pearly gates.

  • Haretip

    I have heard there are websites that sale “gently used” tuxedos and other former rental clothes. A cheap source for the month’s worth of duds.

  • Don’t forget, Zac, I said I wanted shoes, too.

  • Dear Mr. Daniel:

    As you allude, the more interesting company is outside the Pearly Gates — and that’s where I’m sure I shall remain.


  • I’ll do it

    As a former intern, I spent some time around Tim and he’s a nice guy, so I’ll buy him a tux (not more than $1,500) in exchange for a paying job at D. This is a legit deal. I’m serious.

  • I’ll do it

    Oh, and $150 for shoes

  • @I’ll Do It: I like your moxie, but you seem to misunderstand the challenge at hand. Also, $2,000 likely won’t match the outfit I have in mind.